Mitch Marner scores twice to lead Toronto Maple Leafs to 4-1 win
Mitch Marned scored a slick two goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in this best-of-seven series opener. One of which was a short-handed penalty shot which gave the Leafs a lead they never looked like surrendering.
Marner was the star for the Leafs as he recorded nine points in their seven-game exit last season at the hand of the Bruins. He once again demonstrated his tag as the man for the big moments in this opening round opener.
“We’re a fast team,” said Marner, who pointed to Toronto’s confidence as a difference this time around against Boston. “When we play right, it’s hard to stop us.”
The talented 21-year-old got the Leafs back even after Boston had pulled ahead in the opening period. However, he connected on his penalty shot with a ridiculous move on Tuukka Rask.
Jake Muzzin, who is two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings was thrilled with Marner’s performance. He said: “He’s one of our special players. He reads the play so well. He’s almost one step ahead, to be honest.”
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy echoes these thoughts. He said: “(Marner’s) an elite player in the league at a young age. He’s always played well against us, always played hard against us.”
Marner said before the game that the peach fuzz growing on his face “gets heavier now. The 21-year-old didn’t only lead the offensive charge, but along with Zach Hyman and John Tavares, kept the Bruins big line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron under control. They had previously combined for 30 points against the Leafs last spring.
Tavares and William Nylander scored the other goals for the Leafs. The prior mentioned scored into an empty net. Frederik Andersen was back to his best, as he made 37 saves. Meanwhile, Tavares made the assist for Marner’s first goal.
Boston’s reply came from Bergeron. Meanwhile, Rask saved 29 shots as Toronto won the opening game of the playoffs for the first time since April 2003’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Auston Matthews said: “It’s a big road win for us. We kept our composure.”
Game two takes place on Saturday at TD Garden ahead of the series switch to the Scotiabank Arena on Monday and Wednesday.
“Still six games left here to get the job done,” Marchand said. “We have to be better.”
Last year’s game would have been playing a part on the Leaf’s players. They had trailed 2-0 and 3-1 after two games and four games of the series respectively. However, they managed to draw the series and force a seventh game. Leafs were ahead heading into the third quarter, but still somehow losses.
It can only be a positive thing that there would be no such comeback this time around. The signs look positive, as Marner alluded to.
He said: “A great win for us. We’re going to need to keep going here throughout the series.
“The games are just going to get harder and harder.”
Marner said: “We just wanted to stay above them. We wanted to make it hard on them getting to our blue line and getting it in. Muzzy and (defence partner Nikita) Zaitsev did a great job as well.”